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Development of different human skin colors: A review highlighting photobiological and photobiophysical aspects

Paper ID Volume ID Publish Year Pages File Format Full-Text
30346 44471 2009 8 PDF Available
Title
Development of different human skin colors: A review highlighting photobiological and photobiophysical aspects
Abstract

Skin color has changed during human evolution. These changes may result from adaptations to solar ultraviolet radiation (protection of sweat glands, sunburn, skin cancer, vitamin D deficiency, defence against microorganisms, etc.), and/or sexual selection. Migration to areas with high levels of UV is associated with skin darkening, while migration to areas with low levels has led to skin lightening. However, other factors may have played roles. Temperature and food have probably been secondary determinants: heat exchange with the environment is dependent on ambient temperature, and a high intake of food rich in vitamin D allows a dark skin color to persist even at latitudes of low UV levels, as exemplified by Inuit’s living at high latitudes. Future studies of human migration will show if skin lightening is a faster process and has a higher evolutionary impact than skin darkening. Maybe due to that some American Indians have kept a relatively light skin although they live under the equator.The following hypotheses for skin darkening are reviewed: shielding of sweat glands and blood vessels in the skin, protection against skin cancer and overproduction of vitamin D, camouflage, adaptation to different ambient temperatures, defense against microorganisms, protection against folate photodestruction. Hypotheses for skin lightening are: sexual selection, adaptation to cold climates, enhancement of vitamin D photoproduction, and changing food habits leading to lower intake of vitamin D. The genetical processes behind some of the changes of skin color will be also briefly reviewed.

Keywords
Skin color; Solar radiation; Vitamin D; Skin cancer; Folates degradation
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Development of different human skin colors: A review highlighting photobiological and photobiophysical aspects
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Publisher
Database: Elsevier - ScienceDirect
Journal: Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology - Volume 96, Issue 2, 3 August 2009, Pages 93–100
Authors
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Subjects
Physical Sciences and Engineering Chemical Engineering Bioengineering
Get Full-Text Now
Don't Miss Today's Special Offer
Price was $35.95
You save - $31
Price after discount Only $4.95
100% Money Back Guarantee
Full-text PDF Download
Online Support
Any Questions? feel free to contact us